Mon, Mar 25, 2024 2:04 PM

Rowing success on Ruataniwha


Peter Jones

The Marlborough college rowing contingent that headed south to the Maadi Cup regatta at Lake Ruataniwha was small in number - but big in heart, as their results showed.

Crews from both Marlborough Boys’ and Girls’ Colleges featured in a series of finals as the annual showcase of secondary school rowing drew to a close on Saturday, bringing home three medals, including one gold.

The MBC under-17 pair of Blake Campbell and Louis Girling highlighted the Marlborough efforts, prevailing in a thrilling final by over three seconds from a formidable Sacred Heart crew from Auckland.

Coach Clayton Lindstrom was well-satisfied with the efforts of his charges over the week-long event.

He said the MBC under-17 pair “had a bit of a shaky start” in their A final, but “got themselves going and just rowed through”.

“It was great. They were second in their heat to Sacred Heart, but battled hard to turn the tables in the final.”

The third-placed MGC under-18 coxed four - plus coaches Hannah Starnes and Joe Bennion - Jessica Bennett, Mila van Rensburg, Grace Straker, Hazel Glover and Molly Wilkes. Photo Wendy Lindstrom.

Girling and Campbell also reached the final of the under-18 pair, underlining their undoubted potential in a more senior age bracket.

Also bringing home some precious metal was the MBC under-16 coxed quad comprising Aiden Bennett, Willem Rowe, Hunter Marfell, Logan Flight and coxswain Blake Marfell.

“I was also very happy with their efforts,” said Clayton.

“It is the same four that got a bronze last year in the under-15 quad. I thought they might have been out of the medals with 500m to go … they were in fourth position but they came storming home and snuck ahead of Wellington to get the bronze.”

The MBC contingent comprised 15 rowers and three coxswains. “Not a big squad by any means,” said Clayton. “We were really happy with them … even just getting in A and B finals is a big thing at this sort of event. I was really proud of the boys.”

The MBC under-16 coxed quad of Aiden Bennett, Willem Rowe, Hunter Marfell, Logan Flight and cox Blake Marfell on the podium with coach Glenn Marfell. Photo supplied.

The 24-strong MGC group also enjoyed medal success.

The under-18 coxed four of Jessica Bennett, Mila van Rensburg, Grace Straker, Hazel Glover and coxswain Molly Wilkes picked up a bronze medal in their A final, breaking an 11-year drought for the college who have not medalled in the demanding and highly-competitive under-18 category since 2012.

Four other MGC crews made their way into A finals.

Overall, 33 schools finished the week with a national title to take home, with a total of 54 different schools seeing their representatives climb onto the podium.

At the conclusion of the event, which was blessed with a period of superb weather and rowing conditions, two MGC rowers were named in national trial squads. Mila van Rensburg has been chosen to attend the NZ under-19 trials at Lake Karapiro on April 18-24 while Grace Straker has been named in the South Island under-18 trials at Ruataniwha on April 17-19.

Leading results

Marlborough Boys’ College

Under-17 pair (Louis Girling, Blake Campbell) 1st in A final – GOLD medal

Under-16 coxed quad (Aiden Bennett, Willem Rowe, Hunter Marfell, Logan Flight, Blake Marfell cox) 3rd in A final - BRONZE medal

Under-18 pair (Louis Girling, Blake Campbell) 7th in A final

Under-15 coxed quad (Matthew McLeod, Toby Randall, Beau Webber, Archie Saggers, Jack Shaw cox) 7th in A final

Marlborough Girls’ College

Under-18 coxed four (Jessica Bennett, Mila van Rensburg, Grace Straker, Hazel Glover, Molly Wilkes cox) 3rd in A final – BRONZE medal

Under-18 double (Abby Craig, Ella Barnes) 6th in A final

Under-17 double (Grace Straker, Mila van Rensburg) 6th in A final.

Under-17 coxed four (Grace Straker, Mila van Rensburg, Abby Craig, Iris Vavasour, Olive Paterson cox) 7th in A final

Under-18 coxed quad (Jessica Bennett, Ella Barnes, Abby Craig, Hazel Glover, Georgia Marfell cox) 7th in A final

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